Uses of the imperfect subjunctive

Reminder: there are two different ways of conjugating the imperfect subjunctive.

No sabía que fuera/fuese necesario.

I didn't know that it was necessary.

We use the imperfect subjunctive:

  • after the conditional to express a wish or talk about an imaginary situation, or after the normal imperfect to talk about an action that happens at the same time or later.

Me gustaría que cantaras en mi boda.

I would like you to sing at my wedding. 

Ella querría que fuese a su fiesta.

She would like me to go to her party.

  • after an opinion verb (creer, pensar, saber, etc.) only when it is negative and expresses either a hypothesis or past event. 

No creía que el tren llegara por la noche.

I didn't believe the train would arrive at night.

No pensaba que Pablo estuviera en Madrid.

She didn't think Pablo was in Madrid.

No sabía que pudieras saltar tan alto.

I didn't know you could jump so high.

  • to be polite

Quisiera una taza de té, por favor.

I would like a cup of tea, please. (Yes, am English. How did you guess?)

  • after como sí (as though/if)

Has luchado como si fueras un campeón.

You fought as though you were a champion.

  • to describe requests in the past

Ayer, Marta me dijo que cerrase la puerta.

Yesterday, Marta told me to close the door. 

Siempre pedía que trajera el periódico.

She always asked me to bring the newspaper.

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